Mamas, We Have to Value the Hours Clocked at Home

I recently watched a really interesting interview with Senator Benjamin Sasse that was insightful on several fronts, but one point that he made that really struck me was the importance of work to our sense of accomplishment and identity. Without beating a dead horse on the current state of affairs front, we're facing a workforce that is increasingly set on doing the least amount of work necessary to get by. One of the many points that he made is that we, as humans, have an innate desire to contribute to something, to work, to produce, and this shift toward consumption (in every sense) is essentially setting us up for a world of discontentment and lack of output...and we're already seeing this to be true.

Personally, this resonated in a big way. I know that I feel best when I am productive. Unfortunately, that is largely measured on things done, tasks marked off my perpetual to-do list, or hours clocked toward the "day job." However, where I think I fail to fully grasp just how much I am doing is that I don't count the hours and efforts toward raising my son. I am not unique on this front, but in realizing just how much our work contributes toward a sense of contentment, it's no wonder that so many mothers struggle to feel like enough, to shake off guilt, and to find balance in "just" being a mom.

If we don't consider the countless moments that we're "on" as we raise our children, all that we really have as a reference point for how we're doing are the gaps: the chores not done, the messes lingering, the office hours kept by our husbands, or the absence of dedicated attention to our work outside of the house (since we're always, always split between worlds once we have children). Is it any wonder that post-partum blues are so common? We're working our tails off and not giving ourselves an ounce of credit.

And hear me on this: it's on us, moms. We are our own worst enemy, overwhelmingly, because we take for granted what we're doing. How quickly do we focus on where we fall short because we're surprised to find ourselves struggling under the weight of a brand new job that never, ever ends. There's no quitting time, no Happy Hour, no paid vacations. It's a position that in any other industry would be marked by astronomic rates of burn-out and periodic dissatisfaction if we're really honest.

But what would happen if we look at raising our children, at cultivating our family with our spouse, as a full-time job? Would we be more inclined to acknowledge a job well done on days when we all survive, some memories were made, and the dishes got put away? Could we challenge ourselves to a performance review on a weekly basis and see all the critical thinking executed, the problem solving employed, the physical hurdles overcome, and the sheer volume of effort and heart employed?

I pray that we can do just this, even if just in those challenging, lonely moments when we feel the weight of trying to balance everything...and failing at it. Because we will fail. It's impossible. But if we allowed ourselves the unabashed focus on our main "job" as we did without thinking twice about it in our work before kids--understanding that our primary position is now Full-Time Mom (whether you're simultaneously employed elsewhere or not)--perhaps there we will find not only grace, but praise. 

Job well done, mama.


  1. I love this! I was just speaking with someone at the bank who asked if I worked, to which I said, "No, I'm a SAHM." Her reply, "That's The best and hardest job. Don't let anyone discredit you for it."